Finding My Place

Romans 12:3-8 “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

A lot of us have done those tests that help narrow down what your spiritual gift(s) are. I love tests like that because I always need help narrowing things down. Even with that, I have two that are pretty dominant. Using your spiritual gifts brings fulfillment in service to God. We are all created with a different part to play. It is a cooperative play with beautiful individual pieces working together to form one amazing working body as the bible says. When we examine the scriptures comparison, it makes so much sense. When our body has all of the different parts working the way they were designed, it is a beautiful thing. It is beautiful when your arms are able to reach out and extend an encouraging hug; your legs able to walk with your child/grandchild up that mountain; your heart pumping the right amount of blood at just the right the second and so on. Then there is the alternative, when the cells in your body are attacking one another resulting in potential death; your legs slowly becoming too shaky to use and almost becoming as if they are no longer your own; your brain has now become an enemy and made even your most loved ones, strangers. When each body member is not performing its function, it creates strain on the other parts of the body and chaos.

I feel like this lesson is something I had learned awhile back. But, it’s funny how God teaches you lessons then reteaches with a little twist to remind you, hey, you don’t have this figured out, dude! It’s just like part of verse 3-“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought”. Throughout the last year with the pain and reduced activity, I have not been able to live out my spiritual gifts the way I had or planned too. The key words being-the way I had planned and “my” spiritual gifts. I had to learn to live out my spiritual gifts differently and serve in a new way.

I have always been an “action” type person. I am going 24/7 and if I’m sitting still then I feel like I’m doing something wrong.Image result for funny for 24/7

I applied that to how I served God and subsequently others as well. That was until God stopped me in my tracks. So, you have a choice, either stop serving until things are in pristine circumstances again or adjust and grow. We usually have a picture of how things are “supposed” to go and then God has the actual canvas laid out. When we truly surrender ourselves to being used in any way that He plans then we can sincerely be used in the body of Christ.

The gifts that I have really been focused on now are service, by prayer, and encouragement. I struggled with prayer, at first, as if sitting back and praying for someone rather than being present serving was somehow not enough. Service has always been one of my spiritual gifts, but it has been more in a physical capacity. So, I had to adjust my thoughts in this area. When it got down to it and I really took a hard look, (Psalms 139:23-24), I had to realize that I was really thinking of myself “more highly than I ought” in a sense. When we pray, we are crying out for God to move in a person’s life, a situation, a crisis, etc. We are interceding on someone’s behalf in the name of Jesus who has the power to move Heaven and Earth; speak and heal; and to dry every tear. But, I thought “my presence” would mean more than that? You see where I’m going with that??? It’s not to say that physically serving is not Incredibly important. We are called to be the hands and the feet of Christ. But, at the times when we cannot physically be there or in any case really, we are called to pray. God is supremely powerful and He wants to hear us cry out to Him on our behalf and on the behalf of others. It is such a service that I think we forget about.

I have always found music to be an encouragement to me. God has always used the words in songs to really lift me up, convict my heart and motivate me at the different times I needed it. There is something about encouragement that just gives you the strength to keep going and climb to new heights.

Image result for encouragement meme

God has really given me a heart for this. I have realized through these trials that you don’t have to have everything figured out yourself in order to encourage another. You don’t even have to “feel” encouraged yourself necessarily in order to encourage another. God will give me a scripture, a song, a quote, anything that I can pass on to another. As a side note, I never share unless I feel like He is leading me too. Even then sometimes I hold back because I start to think well maybe they will think it is a nuisance, I’ll seem to preachy, etc. But, those are the times I know Satan has in turn used me to block a message that someone may have really needed. The times I have resisted that, I have had people say, man I really needed that. It is never something that I feel I did on my own because it is always something that I wait on God to prompt my heart for. I say these things not to try to sound proud in any way. I say it because it is something that I do in order to keep myself humble. I struggle with the tug-a-war of wanting to be used by God and then sometimes feeling like I somehow did something great. Therefore, I try to build as many caution tape barriers as I possibly can and pray like crazy that God will guard against it. So, that is one of my caution tape barriers. I don’t send an encouragement out unless I feel the Spirit prompting. I feel as though if I began to do it without the Spirit leading me, then I would start to want to take credit for it. Then it becomes something done not out of worship and glory to God, nor out of service, but about me.

I am slowly learning that through every circumstance to consider it joy just like James 1:2-6 says about trials. Because it is producing perseverance and growth in ways that would not have happened without the struggles. I do not enjoy the trial, nor am I enjoying the current trials we are going through, but I am so thankful that God is teaching me who He is through it. I have to cling to it. And I refuse to remain idle. I will serve, thrive and help build his kingdom in any way that He gracefully sees fit in the process. All too often, we (I) get bogged down in our struggles and forget that there are so many around us that are drowning, trying to cling to any life preserver in sight. We can use the gifts He has faithfully given us, through His grace, to help the people around us. No matter the difficulties and trials you are facing today, find your strength in Christ. Hold on to His promises and meditate on them. Then find your place to use your gifts He mercifully gave through His grace. Even if you have to adjust based on your physical condition, I urge you to pray. I urge you to find your place in the body of Christ. All members of the body are needed. If your member has changed a little based on your physical/mental condition, grief, finances, etc., find your new member and start now.

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Take Me to the King

I know I’m a little late on the Monday music post, but it’s been a difficult few days. It is ironic because that actually allowed for the perfect song for this week to be presented.

 

Music moves the soul. Music is my dream because I have so strongly experienced it literally lifting a searching, broken soul out of the lowest depth. I have been and am that broken soul so often. I think we all are. It may be just the beat, rhythm, melody, harmony, etc. that gets you at first but then the words seep in and begin to slowly soak the wounds that cut us deeply. It may be only one or two words out of a song. But then there are those, like this song, that speak to your core and almost offer up a prayer to God that you couldn’t quite put into your own words.

We have had a few things that have not gone in our favor the last few weeks. We are still waiting on closing on our house which is now a month past when we were supposed to close, my pain has been getting worse and at every turn we are made to be stuck with obstacles that make it seem like God doesn’t want things to improve. There are personal struggles that come along with that when the world just seems to pull at you at every turn. It almost seems like God is insistent that we live in this continuous valley with little fire storms being pelted down.

When there seems to be no relenting in the storm, you have two choices. You can look up or you can look downcast. I love the words of this song because they are so honest. I feel like they are right where my heart is now. I feel like I don’t have any moving prayers to offer or at moments, I feel I can’t mutter a breath. I come before the King with nothing. I brought nothing to get there in the first place. And the interesting thing is all He asks me to do is to bring my broken soul to Him for healing.

Take me to the king
I don’t have much to bring
My heart is torn in pieces
It’s my offering
Take me to the king

Truth is I’m tired
Options are few
I’m trying to pray
But where are you?
I’m all churched out
Hurt and abused
I can’t fake
What’s left to do?

Truth is I’m weak
No strength to fight
No tears to cry
Even if I tried
But still my soul
Refuses to die
One touch will change my life

Take me to the king
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn into pieces
It’s my offering

Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon your glory
And sing to you this song
Please take me to the king

Truth is it’s time
To stop playing these games
We need a word
For the people’s pain

So lord speak right now
Let it fall like rain
We’re desperate
We’re chasing after you

No rules, no religion
I’ve made my decision
To run to you
The healer that I need

Take me to the king
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn to pieces
It’s my offering

Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon your glory
And to sing to you this song

Take me to the

Lord we’re in the way
We keep making mistakes
Glory is not for us
Its all for you

Take me to the king
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn to pieces
It’s my offering

Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon your glory
And sing to you this song

This song is not just a personal cry, it is an outcry for a nation. It is the pleading of people that are hurting and waiting on God to move in our life. I like the chorus of this song because it simply says in the midst of all life’s turmoil, “Take me to the King. I don’t have much to bring. My heart’s torn to pieces. It’s my offering.”

God doesn’t ask us to bring much. Take the loaves and the fish that feed over 5,000. Not much food was required, but faith was required. Jeremiah 29:10-14a “This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lords, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.” We just have to come, brokenness and all.

I will let the words of this song stand on their own as I feel like they are a prayer all on their own. It is the cry of my heart right now. I hope you find it as good of a listen as I did.

Prayer

I blogged the other day about not knowing how to pray during this time. It’s funny how God answers those prayers. Things have continued to worsen and I have spent a lot of time in bed only getting up for what I have to do. Tonight got really bad and I just got fed up. I felt like I was losing control of everything. I finally locked myself in my room and decided to have some alone time with God. I needed to just sit with God. I listened to worship songs and it just reminded me of how Great and how powerful our God is. No matter what life brings, that is undeniable. I am so thankful for everything that He has done, who He is and how I can see Him work all around me. I began to do two different devotionals. The first one spoke of how God chooses each individual to go through whatever difficulty in order that we might have an impact on others around us to  display Christ (Holy Emotions-Biblical Responses to Every Challenge written by Carol McLeod and Just Joy Ministries on the Bible App). I firmly believe that. I also know that I allow, just like the study described, my selfish attitudes to get in the way and I fail so often. I pray that God renews my/our strength and that His light will shine. That, by far, makes any and all of this worth it if even just one comes to know Him or is strengthened through my suffering. God is a good God. His ways are always good and I trust that He is allowing this for a reason. Then I read the other devotional and it just made me super pumped. It was the one that offered a prayer at the end. It was the complete answer to my prayer and I didn’t even see it coming. I love how God works! The devotional discussed how we always pray for God to provide comfort, but we don’t even really understand the true meaning of the word.”The word is made from two Latin word parts, com-, an intensifying prefix which means ‘together with,’ and fortis, which means ‘strong or strength.’ Later, the Latin word confortare comes to mean, ‘to strengthen much.’ Eventually, an Old French word, conforter, would add words like ‘solace’ and ‘help’ to the definition. Finally by the 17th century, the English version of the word implies the sense of physical ease that we understand today” (Finding Comfort in Pain provided by Life Church.tv to Bible App). They tied that all in to the prayer at the end. I couldn’t help but cry out the prayer over and over. It says, “God, I don’t like pain, but I love You. Please change my understanding of Your comfort and help me to feel it. Holy Spirit, show me where Your “together-strength” is carrying me through this. Jesus, help me to know how You bore my pain.”

I think this is the perfect cry out to God. It is not asking Him to take away the suffering necessarily. If that is His will and draws us closer to His face, then bring it on. Our earthly suffering will never compare to what He bore for us. But, He understands how we hurt, how we suffer, and that we don’t desire to feel that pain. No matter what His will is, whether to take it away or keep it, please show me your “together-strength” carrying me through. That is all that carries me through. I need you. I need Your strength. I cannot make it on my own. Amen.